This week Google held their I/O Developers Conference. At the conference they announced updated to Android, Search, Assistant, Pixel and, more.
Minor Announcements from Sundar’s Intro
Here are a bunch of things that Sundar Pichai (Google’s CEO) mentioned in his opening address:
- Google Maps upgrades (20% more buildings worldwide), in Africa (300M buildings mapped) and 2X in India
- Immersive View coming to more cities
- Eco-friendly routing coming to Maps
- auto-generated YouTube chapters using DeepMind
- Google Docs getting automated TLDR; generation for long documents
- They’re going to use tech from Starline (something they showed last year) to make meetings in Google Meet better quality
At I/O this year Google announced that they are upgrading a relatively new feature (that I didn’t know about) called multisearch. This feature allows you to search with a picture than add text to be more detailed. The update allows you to specify that you’re looking for things near you. They also showed off a new feature called “scene exploration”, which allows you to search within a photo. Here’s the example the give in their press release of when scene exploration can be used:
Imagine you’re trying to pick out the perfect candy bar for your friend who’s a bit of a chocolate connoisseur. You know they love dark chocolate but dislike nuts, and you want to get them something of quality. With scene exploration, you’ll be able to scan the entire shelf with your phone’s camera and see helpful insights overlaid in front of you.
This year Google announced a few update to Android, this year the updates are pretty minor. First off, the Google Pay app is being rebranded back to Google Wallet (which will gain support for Government/Student IDs and Disney Park passes). Also, earthquake alerts are being expanded to “many of the remaining high-risk regions around the world”. They also demoed Android 12L which is the oncoming update to Android geared to tablets.
Here are a few updated that were announced for WearOS:
- The following apps are being brought to WearOS:
- adidas Running
- The following apps are getting updated to work better on tablets:
- YouTube Music
- Google Maps
- and more
- Android (and Chrome) are getting virtual credit card
During the keynote there was a whole segment on privacy and security. The presenter announced that Google will now de-identify most of the data it collects and:
We never sell your personal information to anyone or use the content you store in Gmail, Drive, or Maps for content marketing.
They also announced My Ad Center where you can control what ads you see on Google services (including YouTube). That includes opting in and out of selected categories.
One of the coolest (though I guess not as technologically complex) features that were shown off at the keynote was Look & Talk, which (on the Nest Hub Max) activates Google Assistant when you stare at it (with out saying the wake word). They also announced that more quick phrases are coming.
Closing off I/O, Google moved on to talking about their Pixel devices. During this part if the keynote they announced the specs of the Pixel 6a series, gave a sneak peak of the Pixel 7 Series and showed off the Pixel Buds Pro. They also introduced an entirely new product line the Pixel Watch.
The Pixel 6a will have a 6 inch screen that’s limited to 690hz. It’ll also has a dual rear camera with a 12.2MP ultra wide lens and a 12.2MP wide. Preorders will open on July 21 releasing a week later for $249 US.
Sidenote (I forgot to add this earlier and don’t feel like rewriting the previous paragraph): The 6a will be the first a series phone to have Google’s Tensor chip.
Pixel Buds Pro
Also announced was an upgrade to the Pixel Buds line, the Pixel Buds Pro. They will support active noise cancelling and multipoint pairing. They’ll come in Coral, Lemongrass, Fog and Charcoal, have the same release dates as the Pixel 6a and cost $199 US.
Battery Life: 11 hours listening time, 7 hours with ANC on.
Other Pixel Updates
Rick Osterloh came to the stage to talk about a couple of additions to the Pixel lineup. First he teased the upcoming Pixel 7 then he got to the new product lines: The Pixel Watch will have a round stainless steel build, It’ll have a Fitbit integration and release alongside the Pixel 7 in the fall. They also teased a Pixel tablet which is coming next year.
Other Stuff Announced
- Phishing protections coming to Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
- Matter will support fast pairing via QR Code
- AR translating glasses (coverage from The Verge)